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God bless Charm City: The stoop-sitters of Baltimore cherish deck-party crab cracks, root feverishly for dem 0’s, and display a pride for their harbor-rimmed town that matches any loyalty on the Eastern seaboard. Unfortunately, they live in a habitat relatively devoid of a music scene and must haul ass to D.C. for anything resembling a backyard sound. This does not sit well with a burg that considers Washington a healthy—if not win at all costs—rival. 9:30 Club owner Seth Hurwitz has helped quell the need for southern excursions by literally taking over Fell’s Point bastions Bohager’s and Fletcher’s and booking talent both national and homespun. But perhaps the biggest boost has come from Love Riot, a Baltimore quintet that more than resembles the band for whom they recently opened in the District: 10,000 Maniacs. With guitarist-vocalist Lisa Mathews leading four less-than-flamboyant male musicians, Love Riot eases out uncomplicated, roots-rock pop, exuding an easy-going tunefulness that resembles (and complements) their native surroundings. As if the local following isn’t testimony enough to the band’s appeal, Love Riot also has some highpowered friends: NBC’S ÆMD+ULØHomicideÆMDNMØ featured one of their songs in a recent episode, and music writer J.D. Considine provided a neighborly shot in the arm by writing liner notes for the band’s true debut, ÆMD+ULØMaybe She WillÆMDNMØ. The 11-cut collection mixes soft, acoustic ruminations on love lost and found and upbeat, percussion-heavy tracks about pretty much the same thing. Mathews isn’t afraid to show she’s having a blast leading the charge on “Long Way Home” and “Tango,” and neither is she timid about over-emoting on “Sometimes a Feeling” and the title track. Mathews and Co. won’t break the mold of their chosen genre, but for the sake of talent-needy Baltimore, they’re a great start, hon.

—Sean Daly